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Most students apply to MIPT immediately after graduating from high school at the age of 17. Child prodigies are occasionally admitted at a younger age after skipping grades in school. Because admission is competitive, some of those who are not admitted reapply in subsequent years.

Traditionally, applicants were required to take written and oral exams in both mathematics and physics, write an essay, and have an interview with the faculty. The interview has always been an important part of the selection process. Sometimes an applicant with lower exam grades could be admitted, and one with higher grades rejected, based solely on the interview results.

In recent years, oral exams have been eliminated, but the interview remains an important part of the selection process.

The strongest performers in national physics and mathematics competitions and IMO/IPhO participants are granted admission without exams, subject only to the interview.

In accordance with the traditions of the Soviet education system, education at MIPT is free for most students. Further, students receive small scholarships (as of 2012, MathjaxDialect1596657851EquationNumber1100 per month, depending on the student's performance), and rather cheap housing on campus, which allows them to study full-time.